As a popular medicine for stomach flu in humans, Pepto-Bismol is quite popular. It seems, however, that upset human stomachs are not the only ones to benefit from this wonderful drug.
It can also be given to dogs that are suffering from stomach ailments. But before you take a capsule and feed it to your canine, there are certain things that you need to know.
What Is Pepto-Bismol?
Pepto-Bismol is an over the counter drug which can be taken for a wide array of gastrointestinal issues.
This pink tablet is easy to purchase and they are effective for many tummy problems. Pepto-Bismol is bismuth subsalicylate and it acts as an antacid.
This medicine exhibits antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. This is also called as Pink Bismuth due to its coloring. In humans, this helps in relieving stomach discomfort and gastrointestinal problems including heartburn, indigestion, diarrhea, and nausea.
Taking this medicine for more than six weeks could lead to the accumulation of the chemical in the body and lead to toxicity.
There are instances where Pepto-Bismol is unsafe for use such as in children suffering from chicken pox and influenza. Nursing mothers are also cautioned against taking Pepto-Bismol. In both cases, the said medication could increase the risks of developing the neurologic disorder Reye syndrome.
This condition is dangerous since 20 to 40 percent of affected individuals die. For those who survive the disease, a third suffers from brain damage.
Is Pepto-Bismol Safe For Dogs?
From the quick overview of Pepto-Bismol above, this medicine is safe to some degree for humans. But the bigger question is this – is Pepto-Bismol safe for dogs?
If you have been searching for Pepto-Bismol on the web, you have probably read that there are people who give this medicine to their canines. If you have one weak and sad-looking canine that is struggling to get your attention, you might be tempted to slip that doggie with some of this medicine for quick relief.
However, passing on that urge may be the best thing to do.
Yes, Pepto-Bismol is safe for dogs.
However, it should only be administered with your veterinarian’s express approval. There are differing opinions on whether you should give this antacid to a dog or now. Just to be safe, it would be better to look for safer alternatives than to gamble on an antacid that could cause harm even to humans.
Dr. Jessica Wallach, a veterinarian at the NYC Animal Medical Center, chips in that dog owners should only give Pepto-Bismol to their pets when their vet instructs them to do so. In any case, this medicine should only be administered in serious cases. While Pepto-Bismol could soothe your canine’s stomach, it can have harmful side effects that could put your dog’s health at risk.
Pepto-Bismol Side Effects
Some vets recommend Pepto-Bismol in small quantities but others believe that it would be better not to give it on your own for several reasons. One, this medication could mask the real color of your dog’s stool. When your dog is suffering from a digestive problem, you need to observe the appearance of the stool.
If the stool has blood in it, it is vital to report this observation to your vet as it can indicate a serious medical issue. Pepto-Bismol can prevent you from telling whether your canine’s stool has blood or not since it can mask the color. Dogs taking this medicine can observe that the stool turns into a greenish black color.
Another reason to avoid Pepto-Bismol is the fact that it contains aspirin. Too much aspirin can lead to stomach ulcers in dogs. The risk of getting ulcers becomes even higher when your dog is taking another medication for some other health condition.
Hence, it is always better to give Pepto-Bismol after talking to your vet since your dog’s doctor knows his medical history better and he or she could give a better assessment of Fido’s condition.
Dr. Jerry Klein, another veterinarian, also agrees that Pepto-Bismol should only be a temporary remedy. According to him, if it is necessary to give this medication to dogs, a dose or two should suffice. In many cases, vets recommend Corrective Suspension, a bismuth subsalicylate product that is specifically formulated for canines.
While this product is a better choice for your pet, it should never be given to pregnant or nursing dogs. Canines with bleeding disorders should also stay away from this drug.
To make matters worse, Pepto-Bismol tablets could also prevent your vet from giving the right diagnosis. If your dog’s gastrointestinal condition goes from bad to worse and an x-ray becomes necessary, Pepto-Bismol could look opaque in the film.
This means that your vet might think that the Pepto-Bismol is a foreign object in your dog’s body and decides to conduct medical or surgical procedures that are not necessary. Decisions like this could put your pet’s health in serious danger
With these things in mind, you should be more careful on how you medicate your dog. Remember that giving your vet a ring to consult something is always the better option. While Pepto-Bismol can be given to dogs safely, it should never be administered to your felines since it can be fatal.
Salicylates can be highly toxic to cats. This ingredient even in small doses can lead to liver failure, anemia, and ulceration in cats. This is also true for aspirin or any other derivative of this medicine. So, never attempt to ease your kitty’s upset tummy with this product.
How To Use Pepto-Bismol
If your vet agrees that your dog needs Pepto-Bismol, you will need a syringe for this purpose. You will not need the needle though since the medicine will be given orally. Direct the end of the syringe to the back of your dog’s tongue. You should hold the muzzle for a few seconds to make sure that your dog swallows the medicine.
When given to dogs, the recommended dosage is one teaspoon for every 10 pounds. The same amount of medicine can be administered every six to eight hours. However, if your dog continues to have diarrhea even after giving this medicine, you should stop giving this medicine. Instead, call your vote so you will know the best thing to do in this situation.
Other over the Counter Drugs for Dogs
If Pepto-Bismol can help dogs deal with digestive issues what other medicines can rescue your canine from stomach ailments?
Dogs that are suffering from diarrhea could take Loperamide, the generic name for Imodium. This medicine has some contraindication and if your dog is taking other medicines, you should check in with your vet before giving it a go. It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to safeguarding your canine’s health. Loperamide should never be given for more than two days.
Another option that is open to dog owners is famotidine or Pepcid. This is a good choice when your dog is suffering from stomach problems due to acid buildup. Since this medicine has not been approved by FDA for pets, always check in with your vet. It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to taking care of your pet’s health.
Dealing With Diarrhea in Dogs
When your canine is displaying symptoms of diarrhea, Pepto-Bismol should not be the first medicine that you think about. You can do other things to ease the pain that your canine is feeling.
Diarrhea in dogs is a bit similar to diarrhea in people –the condition can be resolved even if you do not do anything. With that said, if you feel like pet needs your help, try to make dietary adjustments.
What do you need to do when your dog has diarrhea? A bland diet would definitely help. For a few days, put your dog on a diet consisting of chicken and white rice. If the condition remains unresolved even after a few days passed, then you should give your vet a ring.
The same is true if diarrhea is accompanied by other symptoms that could indicate a serious medical condition. When on top of suffering from diarrhea, your dog is also vomiting or is lethargic, you should bring your pet to the vet right away.
Is your dog suffering from diarrhea? You are probably worried about what is going to happen to your pet. If this is your biggest concern, you might resort to using Pepto-Bismol –a popular medicine for people who are suffering from various digestive complaints.
Pepto-Bismol is safe for dog consumption. However, you should not give it to your canine unless there is an explicit approval from your vet. Pepto-Bismol has certain side effects and it should only be used temporarily.
This medicine tends to mask the color of the stool which would make it difficult to diagnose what is making your dog sick. Aside from that, it could also mess up with x-ray results and misdiagnosis could lead to your dog’s demise.